Here is a picture of a bowfin I caught back in 2007. I just found your site and figured I would send in some pictures. I couldn't figure out how to link to the exact location on Bing so I just attached an image with the locations circled. Hopefully you can tag them and add them to the map. The 2011 locations were next to Pope's landing but I couldn't manage to catch them, just sight fished on them for a bit and hooked the bigger one but it threw the hook and didn't come back while I was fishing the area.
The 2007 catch was on a bomber 5f Fat A crank bait, chartreuse with a brown back in roughly 3ft of water in July 2007. I saw the beast and sight casted to it, the first pull of the line the fish changed direction and aimed at my lure which was a couple feet from its head, then second twitch of the crank bait and it exploded towards the lure and I set the hook. It shredded the split ring on the rear treble, straightened out 2 out of 3 hooks on the rear treble, straightened 1 of 3 hooks on the front treble, and left teeth marks down the sides of the lure. I barely got it in the landing net when it threw the hook.
Trent O, 09/23/11
I went to Raymond Creek again and caught a bowfin. We got two from someone else. They used shrimp and we caught ours on a plastic worm just sitting on the bank.
This is a male shoepic (bowfin) that I caught today at Raymond reek in Liberty, Texas. It is already a hotspot on your map. I had a live shiner set on the bottom of the creek.
I caught this fin at Lake Ray Hubbard out of Dallas ,but in Dallas County. Along 66 and at a fork on Northern end of lake.
My 14 year old son, Rex, caught this fish today in Lake Livingston, Texas. He was using chicken livers for bait. Also, one that his friend, Spencer, age 11 caught the same day.
The Liberty County Bowfin chapter had a little chapter retreat today and went back out to Raymond Creek in Liberty, Tx. Our old fishing hole has been destroyed since hurricane ike so we had to find a new spot to catch them. It took us awhile, but we found them. Only caught two, but missed 4 and had a really big one break the line on us. Really healthy fish, we basically had to wrestle them on the bank to get a picture of them, then we released them so they can grow and we can catch them next time. Had a great time though, and we will be posting more pictures soon because we will be fishing it hard
over summer time.
Liberty County Bowfin Anglers
I have been after a bowfin for a while, Saturday morning was my day. I went to Lake Fork, with the specific intention of finding and landing a bowfin. I had seen them only once or twice in my life and have been fascinated by them for years. I arrivaed at the Lake Fork Marina, and started walking the shore behind the boat slips, and that's where I spotted this guy just sitting on a sandy spot on the bottom. No fry, just sitting there, slowly creeping into a patch of weeds. I stood about ten feet away, cast a an olive/brown sculpin fly at him and he took it! I set the hook, but I managed to pull it out of his mouth! I repeated and he took the fly again, same things I couldn't set the hook. "OK I thought, better try something different. I cast for a third time, he smacked it, and then I did a strip set, which I usually use on tarpon, and then it was ON! He took me on a nice ride, all the while a crowd of b@$$ fisherman had gathered to watch the kid with the fly fishing gear battle a mudfish. After I landed and snapped some pics, I let him free to terrorize the local sunfish once more...
Love the site!
P.S. I caught him on a 6wt, TFO "clouser" fly rod, using 16lb mono as a leader. The fly was a number 6 Olive Sculpin from Orvis. (looks like a crawdad).
Jonathan A, 05/25/10
I came across your website today and I thought it was great.
For about ten years I lived about 10 miles NW of Angleton Tx on about 7 acres of heavily wooded swamp land. Along the back of the property was a slough, it was full of tree stumps and hydrilla which made for a great fish habitat. My brother and I fished that slough almost every day, and put lbs and lbs of fish in the freezer, mostly bowfin.
For bait we would normally catch some small perch, and cut them up. The slough was full of huge b@$$, turtles, gar and alligators, but by far our favorite was the bowfin. I would say the average size bowfin we would catch was around 10 lbs, and boy did they put up a fight! Most of the fishing we did was from our own property, but the slough did cross under the main road a little West of our property, so public access is possible for anyone wanting to give it a try.
I haven't been back to the Angleton area for a number of years, but I may be moving back in a month or so. If I get back down there I'll surely take a day to go visit the old bowfin hot spot, and hopefully I'll be able to send you some new pictures for the website.
I have been fishing for over 40 years and by far the bowfin is one of my favorite fish. It's fun to catch, puts up a great fight, and the fillets are beautiful thick white slabs of mouth watering goodness. One word of advise for anyone who hasn't caught a bowfin before, "Look out for the teeth!"
David T, 02/10/10
We saw you didn't have any stories from the great, albeit tiny, town of Angleton, TX. I caught this 7.8 lb, 29" bowfin in a "mudpuddle" about 20 ft across and 40 ft wide, depth about 1-2 ft in the backyard. There used to be a bayou but we've had a recent drought, and the majority of the waterway has dried up. I was using a Shakespeare telescopic spinning combo with 8 lb test line, with a small piece of shad as bait. I thought there might be some small perch or b@$$ in the pond, and was suprised when I pulled in this monster. I'd read about them and seen pictures but didn't think they were in my area, let alone my backyard! I was giggling like a little schoolgirl when I realized what it was. Took me a full 5 minutes to wrangle him in without snapping my line, or my cheesy little rod. They really do put up one HECK of a fight.
My girlfriend was fishing at the same time for gar, as we'd seen a few oblong splashes and thought there might be a few long nose or gators, and was using live goldfish. She pulled in a 3.8 lb one using a Pflueger baitcasting combo. Who knew these beasts resided only a few hundred feet from the house!?!?!
This is private water but I'm sure there are many more hiding spots for these fish in the area. Since the "big catch", I've done a bit of research and heard of folks pulling them in out of mini oxbows near Chocolate bayou, and out of irrigation canals in the area. Might be worth wetting a line.
David N, Chelsea F 10/21/09
People are currently catching Bowfin in Lake Texana reservoir near Edna, Texas. Here are latitude and longitude for one area of the Lake where they are being caught: Lat: 29.0162598 N and Long: -96.5540756 W.
Sylvia B, 06/03/09
Hello Bowfin lovers! I just got hooked on catching the monsters! These fish are fun to catch. I was visting a buddy down in Texas who has three sweet ponds. I caught b@$$, catfish, perch, and of course bowfin baby! Had a great time and wanted to share my bad boy bowfins. Love the site, Bagman!
Hi, glad I found your site. I caught my first Bowfin and I was shocked. I was fishing on the spillway side of the Lake O' the Pines near Jefferson, TX on April 19, 2009. I was using a 7' pole and 30 lb braided line. For bait I used a 5" golden shiner. I used a circle hook and it worked great. The fish weighted about 5lbs. What a fish!
Brock F, 04/21/09
Hey I thought you might like to see this. I caught my first and second bowfin today out of Lake Conroe, TX! I found them in about 8" of water on beds and sight casted to them with a brush hog. What a spectacular fight they put on me!!! Both fish were released. I wish they were more common down here in TX! Let me know what you think!!
Kyle J, 04/06/09
Coastal Bend Rods
Here are a couple of pics you might be interested in. We caught this by accident yesterday on Lake Livingston while Jugging.
Kevin W., 04/03/09
I was recently introduced to your web site through the article on bowfin in Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.
I have been acquainted with Richart Ott, the wildlife biologist referenced in the article for many years.
Quite frankly, it never occurred to me that there would be a website. I have intentionally fished for bowfin for years and would rather catch a good bowfin than a b@$$. I fish a couple of times per week most weeks and don't count weekends. A couple of items were of interest to me. First, I was delighted to see the male spawning colored fish. I have noted fish like that several times and wondered if it was simply a local variation in color.
Second, I fish mainly swamps and back waters in Lake Palestine, Caddo Lake, and Lake Fork. While I have taken 30 inch plus fish from all three, Fork produces larger bowfin just like it does black b@$$. My largest fish was a 31 inch 11.5 lbs fly rod fish from Lake Fork. I have found the numbers much higher in Kickapoo Creek and Flat Creek on Lake Palestine but heavy fish more consistently in Fork.. In particularly dry and hot summers Flat Creek on Palestine consistently produces high numbers of quality fish. I use 12inch black worms with a short steel leader, no weight and a braided line.
I do appreciate your site.
Bob S., 03/06/09
I enjoyed looking at your website, particularly the list of myths. My bowfin
experience is pretty much confined to "accidentally" catching them in
Huffman Texas, on a cypress-swampy shoreline of a lake house on Lake Houston, not
far south of where Lucy Bayou spills into it.
What would happen is we'd leave a cane pole or rod-and-reel rigged with live
bait and a cork secured, then step away to the house to get something to
drink, talk, etc. When we'd come back, I'd sometimes see the lines would be far
removed from where I'd left it, or even tangled together with someone else's
line. Four or five times that I can remember, I or my grandfather (it was his
place) pulled up these monstrous-looking things that were anything but the
typical crappie, b@$$ or catfish we normally caught.
Grandpa called them grinnel, and considered them a trash fish in a bemused
sort of way. To his credit, though, he always threw them back in, saying if
nothing else, they probably ran off moccasins (which were abundant in the
button-bush that lined the lake). He considered them a nuisance, but not
necessarily an unpleasant one. I remember him saying they weren't bad eating, but were
a little more trouble to prepare than panfish or catfish. He said people in
Louisiana (including some of our relatives) called them blackfish and
generally used them for stews or in dishes with rice.
Anyway, I fished years later off the same bulkhead, and my own kid pulled
one in, maybe a two- or three-pounder. He was all excited, a lot more so than he
was over the typical sunfish or crappie. I told him the same stuff my
grandfather had to me, but remember thinking the fish wasn't as "ugly" as I'd
thought as a kid. Weird, maybe, but colorful and smooth and not at all
unappetizing-looking (although I threw it back primarily because I didn't feel like
cleaning any fish that day). My son -- about 8 at the time -- told me the
grinnel had really jerked on his rod and reel, and for a second he thought he
needed me to help him pull it in.
Also, I recall my grandmother and her sister (they loved to fish) telling
stories about crappie-fishing in a small boat, and something running into and
tangling two or three lines at the same time, everybody in the boat getting
excited, and pulling up a big ugly fish with teeth! Again, the subject of these
stories were grinnel, and while they were treated as a nuisance, they made
for experiences that were actually more memorable and humorous than their
typical fishing stories.
One thing I think you sort of alluded to in your myth list but didn't really
elaborate on are state regulations concerning snakeheads. These imported
Asian, invasive fish superficially look like bowfins, and in most states you are
not supposed to throw them back in. I thought you might want to incorporate
some of that information into your site, because snakeheads are in fact
damaging to our freshwater ecosystems. I've never caught a snakehead myself, but
I'm pretty sure most people would be able to tell the difference, despite
their similarities with bowfins.
Thanks for your time and effort toward maintaining this site,
Jamie B, Montgomery TX 03/02/09
My son Lonnie recently caught a bowfin on his way home from work when he stopped to wet a line. He caught it near a bridge by Lake Limestone in Limestone County, Texas. The next morning, it was still alive on a stringer in my pond full of Turtles, but no fish though. Maybe this 3lb beauty will survive? I know one thing though, after seeing this energetic fish the morning after, I'm going Finnin'!
Thank you, I enjoyed your site.
Robert S, 02/26/09
I caught a Bowfin male, 18" last week in Cedar Creek Lake, and I caught my second one tonight, 7 pounds. It's still shy of the lake's 10-3 record. I have attached the pix from the first one and this second one. Both were caught in Michaels Cove on the Clear Creek Arm of Cedar Creek Lake, both on Goldfish. Tonight's fish hit like a champion, and fought for several minutes before I got him in the net and on the dock.
I have no catch nor picture of a catch. But I do have info as to a new spot where they live. In Trinity, Texas
and Trinity county, I have found many large (18" and up) bowfin at North end of Lake Livingston. They seem to live mainly in the reeded areas that are somewhat shallow backwaters of the lake. The lake is formed by Trinity river which runs from north of Dallas down to north of Houston. Has many little side creeks and they seem to favor that. It also has many alligator gar.......who have very cranky dispositions with sharp teeth. It took me forever to find out what that strange fish was!!
Also, your website is terrific.
I'm from Dayton, Texas in Liberty County. I have been fishing Raymond Creek with a couple of buddies of mine who are already members of your website and I wanted you to add me as a member. I like to catch bowfin because they fight hard! Also, the fish are cool looking.
Liberty County Bowfin Anglers
I hooked this yesterday under lily pads at Lake Fork near Birch Creek. I never caught one and didn't know WHAT the heck it was. I caught it on a Texas Rigged June Bug Baby Brush Hog. What a fight and what TEETH!!
Bill D, 07/28/08
These are pictures from the last time I went finnin' with fellow LCBA member Keith. None of them are a record or anything but we had a fun time fighting 'em. We called em Grindles and we called us BEOWULF!!!! lol
Liberty County Bowfin Anglers
I caught the little one from the Richland Chambers Area. There were several, but I got sidetracked fishing for gar on my flyrod so that was the only one I got. Hope to go back soon. Next is a nice one from Ray Hubbard in April. He was near the bank and kept turning to face me as I went by in the boat. As I approached, he moved forward and flared his gills at me. I dropped a minnow in front of him and it was on. Some b@$$ fishermen came by and asked how I was doing. I told them I was doing well on the bowfin, but those green trash fish keep taking my bait. From the expression I got, I don't think they thought that was funny. And last, a very pretty one from last year. Mine and the dog's expression is because I had just chased that fish all over the floor of my boat in the seconds before the timer on my camera took the picture.
Draggin Yak, John H 07/06/08
I went fishing in a new spot down 563 a couple of miles down the road from my usual spot. I was using a Booyah trying to lure in some huge bowfin so I can make my way up on the FOTY and on the story board, so I can share my stories with everyone. I casted my line by 2 big cypress trees, got a hit and reeled it in, but it was a little half-pound b@$$. After, I cast out in about the same area, then it happened! My lined tightened up super tight and at the end of it was a nice size bowfin thrashing about. I fought with her for a couple minutes then finally got her in. She weighed 2 pounds 11 oz and she measured up about 17 inches long. It wasn't my best catch but I would rather catch bowfin that size over anything, any day.
FOTY - 1 under 24"
Grizzly Hunter, Daniel H 06/19/08
P.S. FOTY - 2 under 24", 06/23/08
P.P.S. FOTY - 3 under 24", 06/24/08
I left at about 6:30 and went down to my fishing hole with my cousin. I was using a redfish lure; it's basically just a jig with a minnow body and spoon on it. I fished it for awhile then I finally got a hit and it was a good one too. I'm not sure how much it weighed because my scale is broken but I did get its measurements it was 17 inches long. I just bought a new scale so now I can start weighing them too.
FOTY - 1 under 24"
Grizzly Hunter, Daniel H 06/16/08
I went fishing today again. I caught two more fins; the smaller one that I caught was 17 inches and the bigger one that I caught was nineteen inches. I didn't get its weight because after I measured it, it flopped off the shore right into the water. I had a pretty good day of fishing but I didn't catch much today, just those two fins. I go fishing everyday so I'm pretty sure I'll catch some tomorrow. I'm trying my hardest to catch one over 30 inches or even 24, but I haven't seemed to get one yet. You can bet I will be trying my hardest!
FOTY - 2 under 24"
Grizzly Hunter, Daniel H 06/13/08
I went out today and I caught some more fins. The place we went to is in Liberty Texas down road 563 out of Raymond Creek. This place is loaded with bowfin!
FOTY - 2 under 24"
Grizzly Hunter, Daniel H 06/11/08
My name is Daniel H, I live in Dayton, Texas, and I just wanted to join here because I really enjoy catching bowfin! My friend and I just went finnin' yesterday and he caught about eight of them and I caught 5 bowfin and 2 b@$$. I'm sending a picture of my first bowfin I caught.
FOTY - 1 under 24", 1 new Hotspot
Grizzly Hunter, Daniel H 06/10/08
Caught my first grinnel of the year today at Spindeltop Reservoir just south of Winnie, Texas. Just a small male that was starting to color up pretty good and tried to chew my left shoe off when I got him in the boat. Caught him on a baby brush hog, but may try chunks of old shoe next time. Good Fishin'!!???
Just as the cold front was moving in through Kingwood, Texas on 11/21, I headed to a
small creek near the Deerwood Country Club to catch my limit of catfish. Instead, in the
midst of the thunder I landed the biggest Shoepick that I had ever seen. It fought me
like a tiger, and, when I finally got the fish onto land, it fell of the hook. I barely
had him by the lip.
This leads me refer to the text on your website about people who reach in to grab this
fish. This is something I don't understand. A shoepick is the meanest , most ornery,
bite-ing-est monster that I have ever dealt with. I would never put my fingers close to
the mouth of a shoepick. One time I stuck the handle of the landing net into the mouth of
a shoepick to keep it open so that I could remove the hook....and.......even then I
thought that devil would bite my finger off. Their teeth are like razors. I call them a
freshwater shark (add that to your list of names).
The fillet next to the dorsal fin on a shoepick is some of the best fish eating in the
world. The meat can be a little dry, so I usually marinate them. (We have fed shoepick to
the kids when they were little and they all thought they were eating chicken).
Shoepick is my favorite fish on earth--and--they have been on earth for ions. They are my
favorite to catch--to eat -- and to brag about. If this is the fish you are after, it is
always best to use a metal leader and strong, sharpened stainless steel hooks.
I caught this ten pounder on a very large shrimp with the head on....I think that shrimp
is one of the best baits for this species..
PS-- My son Matthew loves the fight from a shoepick, so, he releases the ones he catches.
To me they are just too good to eat. Some people consider them bottom-feeding-trash fish
and bring them to me if they catch them (because they know I eat them). Strange--because
these same people will eat free running chickens (chickens eat anything and are much
worse than a shoepick when it comes to what they will put in their mouth).
PPS-- One last thing.........using an electric knife sure helps in cleaning. this animal
or getting to the fillet.
Guy W, Kingwood, Texas, 11/26/07
I came across your website a few weeks ago when I caught my first bowfin. I screwed up and left it on ice/water overnight and the meat was like oatmeal. Guess it's better to clean them immediately.
Anyway, I am heading to fish the Sabine River this weekend, and was wondering a couple of things.....
I caught my Fin on beef heart. Is there a better bait you recommend? Somewhere I read that cut mullet was good. Just wondering. Also, is it best to have the bait on the bottom, or closer to the surface.
Does this advice go as well for Gar?
Thanks in advance for your help,
Mike A, 11/03/07
I've been told by an old ranch foreman that he's "caught a couple of bowfin over the years"... even though some state biologist told me that they don't come this far down in the state (Edna). Well, this evening, we caught our first. It was a fine female a bit over 2 feet long & every bit as tough as you describe. I caught it in a wide spot in a ditch called Dry Creek. It usually has perch, catfish, bluecrabs & an occasional gator. The meat was fine, even though it was the softest meat I've ever seen.
Carl S, 10/24/07
I am a US soldier serving in Iraq, and I came across your page. I went to the states on leave a month ago, and while home my brother and I fished on the Angelina River in Texas. My brother caught about a 6 or 7-pound choupique on a lightweight spinning rod! We always keep choupique, and the same day we fried him up along with some catfish, b@$$, bluegill, and gaspergou. I told my squad leader, who is a hardcore b@$$ fisherman, about the big choupique when I came back to Iraq. He actually called me a "bowfin angler" in a half-joking, half- you're-crazy manner. I replied that I may be, but this "bowfin angler" can promise that he catches more fish than you!
SPC BobR, Baghdad, Iraq 07/28/06
Bowfin are still bitting in Texas! We were back at Lake Fork last weekend
anticipating a few b@$$. They weren't biting very well so we rigged for
catfish. My son Hunter caught this 3-4 lb Bowfin and a few cats on his
grandfather's 30 year old Abu Amb@$$ador. He can't stop saying that he is
so proud to have caught these fish. He asked me last night when we were
getting up at 4am again to go fishing. As you can see in the picture, his
expression says it all. He is excited about his first Bowfin catch!
WillisH, Texas 03/24/06
These fish (a male and a female by the dot near the tail) were both caught at Lake Fork, Texas. We were actually b@$$ fishing and were lucky enough to catch a couple of fins. We caught them with live bait, something called a Black Salty. The salties are about 4-6 inches long and very active when fished under a cork. The water temp was in the mid to high 50's. These are awesome fierce fighters, however after catching one, the b@$$ fishing really slows down. I think they might scare b@$$ away.
Both, after a while started to bleed near the tail. What causes this reaction?
WillisH, Texas, 03/07/06
Here is a pic of another grinnel my wife Sandra caught 3-1-06 at the
Spindeltop b@$$ Club outside of Winnie, Texas. It was over 30 inches long and
weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz, and was a female. She caught it on a camo colored baby brush
hog while b@$$ fishin'. It put up one gigantic battle in the water and an
equally gigantic one once we got it in the boat. It was released unharmed.
caught this bowfin on the Sabine River in
Orange, Texas. I had never had seen one before. It fought like a b@$$,
maybe harder. (Photo by Chris H)
Mike M 06/28/05
Hi, Just happened to run across your site because it just so
happens my wife caught the strangest grinnel today that I have ever
seen - and I have been catching them for over 35 years. We catch them
while b@$$ fishing and just chunk them back, but I took some pics of
this one and since you guys seem to be experts, I thought I would send
you a couple of pics of this one. I was a small male, about 4 lbs or
so, but it had two long stripes of almost florescent green down its
lower belly from chin to tail. I have caught many males with the green
fins, but nothing anywhere near this one...it looked like it had been
painted!!! Let me know what you think and if you have ever seen one as
greened up as this one. Thanks,
Rick J Winnie, Texas
Thanks for the reply, my wife will be excited to know that she
has made the Big Time on the Internet!!! Over the years, I have caught
many of these grinnells, all while b@$$ fishing, and have seen all the
brightly colored fins on the males, but NEVER have I seen one with its
body all chartreuse.....the camera really didn't catch the total
brightness of the green on this fish. I wish I had taken more pictures.
I just found your sight by searching "bowfin" wanting to learn a little
about them. I had no idea people actually went fishing for them on
purpose. I REALLY never knew people ate them....well, maybe some of the
local cajuns....ha. Anyway, my wife Sandra caught this fish (her third
grinnel of the day), on 4-16-05 in Spindeltop Reservoir outside of
Winnie, Texas. The temp was around 75, sunny, a little windy, and she
caught it on a teguila shad Culprit plastic worm. The tail had been
dipped in garlic chartreuse dye. We didn't weigh it because it was alot
smaller than the normal ones we catch, but I am sure it was probably a
little over 4 pounds. Feel free to put her pic on your website, she
will get a kick out of it.
wife Sara and I were fishing on the west side
of the Toledo Bend Spillway in Texas on the afternoon of the 27
November, around 4 PM. I was around a slight bend slightly downstream
to the south when I heard my wife shouting for a net upstream, about
100 meters to the north. I came running with the net and she was
engaged in full battle with this monster. I thought it was a Striper or
Hybrid she had landed-as that was our objective, then when she wrestled
it to shore, I reached in with the net and we pulled this baby out.
This is the second monster bowfin she has caught in Texas-Louisiana
this year. Based on your scale, we estimate it in the 30+ inches range
and probably around 14-16 lbs. We threw the fish back and continued to
Bill and Sara B
Fort Polk, LA